Top Gear (former?) presenter Jeremy Clarkson launched an obscenity-filled tirade against BBC bosses at a charity auction Thursday night that seemed to indicate he had been sacked on the same day that the corporation completed an inquiry into the “fracas” with a producer that led to his suspension 10 days ago.
In the rant, a portion of which can be seen here, Clarkson, said Beeb bosses had, “fucked themselves…It was a great show and they fucked it up.”
Speaking on stage at the charity event in North London, Clarkson was auctioning a lap around the Top Gear track for $150,000. “I didn’t foresee my sacking but I would like to do one last lap,” said the embattled presenter. “So I’ll go down to Surrey and I’ll do one last lap of that track before the fucking bastards sack me. I’ll be a bit tearful when I do it, but fuck it, let’s do it.”
BBC reps refused to comment on Clarkson’s seeming confirmation that he had been sacked, instead pointing to a statement issued on Thursday evening: “Following last week’s suspension of Jeremy Clarkson, Ken MacQuarrie is now considering the evidence and will report to the Director-General on his findings next week. Once this has been considered, we will set out any further steps.”
Top Gear, co-hosted by Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, airs in about 200 countries and is on BBC America in the U.S.
The most recent controversy, ostensibly about the quality of catering on offer following a day’s filming, saw Clarkson allegedly hitting a Top Gear producer in the face. That incident, however, is only the latest in a series of negative headlines for the show. In October the stars and crew of the show were forced to leave Argentina amid angry protests over a license plate that appeared to refer to the Falklands War. The incident caused the Argentine ambassador to the UK to ask the BBC for a public apology despite Top Gear producer Andy Wilman saying the license plate was not deliberately chosen and was “most definitely” not a stunt.
Last May, Clarkson got in hot water in the UK for the alleged use of a racial slur after an unaired clip from a 2012 episode surfaced suggesting he used an offensive term while reciting the children’s counting rhyme “Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe.” Clarkson denied the allegations, but later issued a video statement saying he had further scrutinized the footage and that in one of three takes in which he mumbled, it did appear “that I actually used the word I was trying to obscure. I was mortified by this, horrified. It is a word I loathe, and I did everything in my power to make sure that version did not appear in the program that was transmitted,” he said.
The BBC then released a statement: “Jeremy Clarkson has set out the background to this regrettable episode. We have made it absolutely clear to him, the standards the BBC expects on air and off. We have left him in no doubt about how seriously we view this.”
That shot across Clarkson’s bow came a month after the BBC apologized for comments he made in a Top Gear special filmed in Burma. And in 2011, the show was criticized over comments about Mexicans that were perceived as racist.
Despite all that, Clarkson remains a big draw for Top Gear auds. A petition, labelled Bring Back Clarkson on Change.org, was only a few thousand votes shy of a million signatories. The presenter has also received the backing of Prime Minister David Cameron in recent days who labelled Clarkson “a friend” and “a huge talent.”